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Xcel Energy announces major drive to increase electric vehicles in Minnesota

It aims to put 1.5 million EVs on roads in the eight states it covers by 2030.

Xcel Energy has revealed details of a major effort to increase the number of electric vehicles on roads in eight states including Minnesota over the next ten years.

The Minneapolis-based utility released its "vision" for electric vehicles on Friday, setting a goal that by 2030, 1.5 million vehicles in its service states will be electric, more than 30 times the number there are today.

To achieve that, it has set forth a series of goals to make it easier and cheaper to charge electric vehicles at home, offer rebates for the purchase of electric cars, increase access to public charging points, and help public transit and fleet operators transition to electric alternatives.

There are some Minnesota-specific plans in the proposal too, among them introducing a pilot project that will allow Xcel customers to charge their vehicles as much as they need on nights and weekend for a "low, flat monthly price," as well as a home charging service program "that makes it easier for customers to have charging equipment installed.

And with electric vehicles proving pricey, the Star Tribune reports Xcel is pushing ahead with a plan to offer $100-150 million in electric vehicle rebates for private owners and transit operators.

It comes amid a wider $3 billion plan from Xcel to increase renewable energy in Minnesota, with a goal of achieving 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

And the company says by switching to electric vehicles, the long-term savings for owners are clear, costing the equivalent of $1 per gallon of gas to run – and significantly less than that when the vehicle is charged overnight.

"By 2030, an EV would cost $700 less per year to fuel than a gas-powered car, saving customers $1 billion annually," it said.

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And with the increased use of EVs coupled with efforts to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, Xcel predicts an electric car will produce 80% less carbon emissions than a gas car in 10 years' time.

"Electric vehicles are the next frontier in the clean energy transition, and we are committed to making charging EVs easy, convenient and affordable for customers,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO, Xcel Energy.

"By accelerating EV adoption in the coming years, we can drive major reductions in carbon emissions while helping our customers save money and making the most of our clean energy investments. We have substantial plans in place in the states we serve, and we can expand on this with partnership and support from policymakers, regulators, customers, automakers and our communities.

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